New PM of Nepal


    In News

    • Recently the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist Centre) chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ was appointed as the new Prime Minister of Nepal for the third time.

    More about the news

    • About the new PM:
      • Prachanda led the decade-long armed struggle from 1996 to 2006 that ultimately ended with the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement in November 2006.
    • Relations with India:
      • He has in the past said a new understanding with India needed to be developed on the basis of ‘changed scenario’ in Nepal and after addressing all outstanding issues, like revision of the 1950 Friendship Treaty and resolving Kalapani and Susta border disputes.

    Issues regarding the treaty of Peace and Friendship of 1950

    • About:
      • On 31 July 1950, India and Nepal signed a treaty of peace and friendship in an effort to “strengthen and develop these ties and to perpetuate peace between the two countries”.
    • Contentious articles of the treaty:
      • Nepal has always had reservations with Articles 2, 6 and 7 of the treaty. 
        • Article 2 states that both governments should “inform each other of any serious friction or misunderstanding with any neighbouring State likely to cause any breach in the friendly relations subsisting between the two Governments”.
        • Articles 6 and 7 stipulate India and Nepal will give the same privileges of economic activity, employment, resident and ownership of property to each other’s nationals in their territory.
    • Issues & concerns:
      • Nepal’s internal matters:
        • As time passed, Nepal believed the treaty was “incompatible with national self-respect”.
        • India was seen interfering in the internal political matters of Nepal by brokering its first steps towards achieving democracy.
      • Nepal-China ties:
        • Nepal was also questioned, albeit not publicly, for establishing defence ties with its northern neighbour China.
      • Madhesi agitation:
        • Matters only got worse during a stiff economic blockade between India and Nepal due to the agitation by the Madhesi population there over Nepal’s Constitution promulgated in 2015. 
    • Reviewing the treaty:
      • After almost a decade of the treaty being signed, both sides have agreed to “review, adjust and update” the treaty.

    Kalapani border issue

    • Location:
      • It is located in the easternmost corner of Pithoragarh and shares a border on the north with the Tibet Autonomous Region of China and Nepal in the east and south.
    • Nepal’s claim:
      • The area is in India’s control but Nepal claims the region because of historical and cartographic reasons.
      • Nepal’s claims to the region is based on the river Kali as it became the marker of the boundary of the kingdom of Nepal following the Treaty of Sugauli of 1816.
      • According to Nepal, the east of the Kali river should begin at the source of the river, which is in the mountains near Limpiyadhura, higher in altitude than the rest of the river’s flow.
    • India’s claim:
      • India, on the other hand, says the border begins at Kalapani where the river actually takes the name Kali near Kalapani.

    Susta Border disputes

    • Susta is a disputed territory between Nepal and India. It is administered by India as part of West Champaran district of Bihar.
    • Nepal claims the area a part of West Nawalparasi District under Susta rural municipality (part of ward no. 5), alleging that over 14,860 hectares of Nepali land in Susta has been encroached upon by India while India claims “Susta” to be a part of West Champaran district.

    India-Nepal Relations

    • India & Nepal share close and friendly relations characterised by age-old historical and cultural linkages, open borders and deep-rooted people-to-people contacts.
    • Sharing borders:
      • The country shares a border of over 1,850 km with five Indian states — Sikkim, West Bengal, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand.
      • Land-locked Nepal relies heavily on India for the transportation of goods and services.
    • Trade and economic ties: 
      • India remains Nepal’s largest trade partner, with bilateral trade crossing US$ 7  billion in FY 2019-20. India provides transit for almost the entire third-country trade of Nepal. 
        • India’s export to Nepal has grown over 8 times in the past 10 years while exports from Nepal have almost doubled. Despite the difficulties due to the pandemic, India ensured uninterrupted flow of trade and supplies to Nepal. 
        • Nepal is India’s 11th largest export destination, up from 28th position in 2014. 
        • In FY  2021-22, it constituted 2.34% of India’s exports. Infact exports from India constitute almost 22% of Nepal’s GDP. 
    • Development Partnership: 
      • Financial and technical assistance:
        • GoI provides substantial financial and technical assistance to Nepal for  the implementation of large development and infrastructure and connectivity projects,  as well as small development projects/high-impact community development projects in key areas of education, health, irrigation, rural infrastructure, livelihood development, etc. all across the country. 
      • The ‘New Partnership in Agriculture’:
        • It was announced in April 2018, which focuses on collaborative projects in Agriculture,  Education and R&D.
      • Cross-border railway links:
        • India is providing financial and technical assistance for construction of two broad gauge cross-border railway links viz Jayanagar-Bardibas and Jogbani-Biratnagar. 
      • India-Nepal Rail Services Agreement (RSA):
        • India and Nepal signed a Letter of Exchange (LoE) to the India-Nepal Rail Services Agreement (RSA), which enabled all authorised cargo train operators including private container train operators to carry Nepal’s container and other freight.
      • Mahakali River bridge:
        • Recently, a MoU was signed between India and Nepal for the  construction of a motorable bridge across the Mahakali River connecting Dharchula  (India) with Darchula (Nepal), under Indian grant assistance.
    • Operation Maitri & post-earthquake reconstruction assistance:
      • In the wake of the 2015 earthquake in Nepal, GoI was the first responder and carried out its largest disaster relief operation abroad (Operation Maitri). 
      • India extended  US$ 1 billion to Nepal as part of its long-term assistance for post-earthquake reconstruction in housing, education, health and culture heritage sectors. 

    Source: TH